Omote [J]: Direct thrust forward at opponents uwadou. In this strike there’s no impediment to the attacker thrusting in a straight line forward to meet the target. When practicing, the motodachi will usually open their left out slightly to clear the path for the attacker. First command to attacker is usually tsuki; onaji is used for successive invitations to strike.
Ura [J]: Essentially the same strike as omote from the attackers perspective. The difference is that the attackers mokuju will be crossing over the wrist of their partner as opposed to omote where the wrist is out to the side and clear of the strike path. Motodachi achieves the correct position by shifting the tip of the mokuju to the right and slightly up allowing the attackers mokuju to simply strike directly forward again. First command to attacker is usually hazuse tsuke; onaji is used for successive invitations to strike.
Shita [J]: Essentially the same strike as omote from the attackers perspective. Here though, the attacking mokuju will strike shitadou (lower chest) below their partners arm and mokuju. Motodachi achieves correct opening by doing a small scooping motion to lift up attackers mokuju slightly up and to the right – then once command is given to attack, motodachi extends the front arm out, forward and right. First command to attacker is usually shita wo tsuki; onaji is used for successive invitations to strike.
Kote [J]: For attacker this is the same as omote and ura – a direct strike forward to try to hit the heart. However, this strike is blocked by the motodachi placing their wrist in the way. First command to attacker is usually kote wo tsuki; onaji is used for successive invitations to strike.
Nodo [J]: Strike to the throat. Unless person is smaller than you, the mokuju will angle up slightly to hit the correct point. Motodachi should lower chin to receive so that the reinforced jukendo men can absorb the blow.
Do [T]: A thrust to the do. In kihon this should be aimed at the top of the main do surface and utilise the piping to prevent sliding off. The wrist should be at an angle and beneath the shinai (not a horizontal European fencing style thrust).
Kote [T]: The attacker lifts the tanken on their own centre line so their hand is above their eyeline to the opponent’s kote. The strike should contact with an almost horizontal shinai with the right wrist above the line of the shinai (as opposed to kendo style, more of a crushing technique than a cutting technique)
Men [T]: Strike to the head. In tankendo men strike is a little further back from the front of the head. The shinai must be raised on the bodies centre line above the head so the kissaki is pointed backwards. As with Kote the strike should contact with an almost horizontal shinai with the right wrist attempting to be above the line of the shinai by bending the wrist upwards (as opposed to kendo style, more of a crushing technique than a cutting technique)
Nodo [T]:Thrust to the throat. The wrist and shinai should usually be roughly in a straight line as opposed to do (wrist below the shinai) and men (wrist above the shinai).
Kihon Strike commands/patterns
Exercise Name “Chokutotsu” [J]: Omote pattern command – eg. chokutotsu san bon (omote, 3 times) After each strike returning to chudan with the motodachi taking two steps slightly after nuki to return to normal kihon distance (10cm overlap of mokuju) as well as the usual tiny step to absorb each strike.
- Command “Tsuke, Onaji”: Used during the exercise to tell the attacker to perform a basic omote attack. Onaji simply means again hence “Tsuke, Onaji, Onaji” would be the the motodachi commands for the typical “Chokutotsu San Bon” exercise used to start and finish most classes.
Exercise Name: “Dai Ichi Kyoushu/Dai Ichi Geiko” [J]: Continuous striking in a series. The basic strike sequence is omote, ura, omote, shita, nodo (or omote if practicing without men and trying to be safe). After each strike the motodachi retreats a single step and, in time with the strikers nuki, attempts to cover the mokuju creating the opening for the next strike. Motodachi movements should be small and not make loud noises connecting with the other mokuju.
- Command: “Dai Ichi Kyoushu/Dai Ichi Geiko, Hajime” [J]: The motodachi starts one step outside normal kihon distance of a 10 cm overlap of mokuju and says “Dai Ichi Kyoushu” then steps in to the standard kihon distance saying “Hajime” at the same time. Note that for Dai Ichi Koushu (unlike “Choku/Ka/Da Totsu san bon” but in the same manner as Tsuzuite tsuke) the motodachi takes a single step, not two, back between each strike as well as the normal tiny receiving step. As with most exercises on completion of the final strike the motodachi takes two small steps back to normal kihon distance kamae.
Exercise Name: Dattotsu [J]: Normally used to describe an ura attack exercise – eg. dattotsu san bon (ura, 3 times coming back to chudan in between each). Note the attacker does not drop their mokuju around the other mokuju to strike, the motodachi creates a straight path to the target by moving their tampo to their right while still maintaining kamae. Footwork for both is the same as Chokutotsu.
- Command “Hazuse Tsuke, Onaji”: See Chokutatsu.
Exercise Name “Do wo tsuke” [T]: Command for basic tanken thrust to do. Typically “Do wo tsuke san bon” (Do, three strikes). When done as kihon the motodachi takes two small steps between each strike to reset the distance.
- Command: “Do wo tsuke” Note that the w is almost silent.
Hidari men wo ute [T]: Command for basic tanken strike to left side men.
Idoukan [J]: Moving strike pattern. For this both the striker and motodachi move as if in shiai and after the strike hiki nuki (retreating) zanshin is performed.
Irimi hajime [T]: Entering move to catch tsuba to tsuba only
Irimi seitei hajime [T]: Entering and unbalancing only
(*) Irimi seitei-zuki [T]: Entering, unbalancing and striking target. Command modifies to ‘*hidari/migi/ue irimir seitei tsuki hajime’.
Katotsu [J]: Normally used to describe a shita attack exercise – eg. katotsu san bon (shita, 3 times coming back to chudan in between each)
Kote wo ute: Command for basic strike to kote.
Men wo ute [T]: Command for basic tanken strike to men.
Migi men wo ute[T]: Command for basic tanken strike to right side men.
Nodo wo tsuke [T]: Command for basic tanken thrust to nodo.
Onaji: Command to perform the same attack/exercise again.
Shita wo Tsuke [J]: Used during the exercise to tell the attacker to perform a shita attack.
Tsuki nagashi: Running strike where once target is struck attacker maintains contact to force other person backwards. Command is either ‘Nodo wo tsuke mae e’ or ‘Do wo tsuke mae e’.
Tsuzuite (*) wo tsuke: renzoku (continuous strike) pattern. eg 3 strikes from standard ma-ai followed by a fourth strike from toma-ai (long distance) where uchikata does not open to provide an easy target. To define which target is being struck you can say ‘tsuzuite nodo wo tsuke’ or ‘tsuzuite do wo tsuke’
Tsuzuite men wo ute: renzoku (continuous strike) pattern for men strikes. eg 3 strikes from standard ma-ai followed by a fourth strike from toma-ai (long distance) where uchikata does not open to provide an easy target. To define a side of men to strike, the command changes to ‘tsuzuite hidari men wo ute’ or ‘tsuzuite migi men wo ute’
Uchi nagashi: Running strike where once target is struck attacker maintains contact to force other person backwards. Command is Men wo ute mae e’ or ‘Kote wo ute mae e’.
Parts of the weapon
Kensen: tip of the weapon
Sakigawa: leather tip of the weapon
Shoutei[J]: the butt of the mokuju
Shinogiji [J]: flat area between shinogi line and mine
Tanpo/kensaki [J]: point/tip of the mokuju
Tokibu [J]: the mokuju ‘trigger’ area
Tsuba [T]: the handguard on the tanshinai
Tsuka [T]: the handle of the tanshinai
Tsuru [T]: the string following the length of the tanshinai
Bogu: protective armour. This consists of the d tare (groin), dou (torso), men (helm) and kote (glove). Tankendo and jukendo also have obuton/urabuton/futon (padding). Jukendo has the additional 2 pieces: shino (thin glove for right hand) and kata (shoulder).
Chudan no kamae: middle guard position.
- Jukendo: left foot forward, tip of mokuju at the level of opponents chest with it angled to point at their eye.
- Tankendo: Arm extended forward with kensen at own heart height but angling up to the opposing eye-line
Chudan irimi no kamae [T]: modified middle guard position where body angles in slightly as if to attack, arm extends further and angles the weapon so the kensen tips to the left.
Fumikomi: ‘stamping’ steps. Should be a gliding movement forward rather than the high stamp of kendo.
Gedan no kamae: low guard position with tip of weapon pointed toward opponent’s knee
Hanmi/hanme: sideways stance.
Harai: deflection of opponents weapon. Can be offensive or defensive.
Hiki nuki zanshin: the retreating zanshin performed after a strike.
Idoukan: moving strikes – where both participants are moving as if in shiai and hiki nuki zanshin (retreating zanshin) is performed
Jodan no kamae: high guard position.Tanshinai raised above centre of the head, about a fist width away.
Kamae: stance or position
Kihon: basics. Usually include basic strikes and footwork.
Ma-ai: standard distance between participants before starting an exercise/shiai.
- Jukendo: tips of mokuju cross over by about 10cm. For kata, start from 9 steps away from each other.
- Tankendo: tips of weapons should be almost touching but not crossing. For kata vs tanken, start from 8 steps away from each other. For kata vs mokuju or bokuto, start from 8 steps away from each other.
Migi no harai / hidari no harai: Technique to deflect opponents wepon to the right (migi) or left (hidari) in order to force an opening to attack. After the initial harai you want your weapon to stop as soon as possible after making contact so that you do not end up providing an opening by going past your centre.
Nagashi: running strikes ie. strike and the run forward a few steps
Naore: return to starting position
Nuki: return to kamae
Renzoku: continuous as in a set of strikes performed one after another. Command for patterns of this type are usually ‘tsuzuite tsuki’
Seichu-sen: correct vertical centre line for the body – keep from leaning forward or backward with the spine.
Seme: attacking pressure
Shikata: person performing the technique
Shimei/Shimeru: refers to that final locking in place, tightening of grip and position when your strike lands. Shimeru is referred to in one of the really early videos on basic tsuki technique: https://jukendo.world/en/2017/09/28/basic-strike-technique/ . Rear elbow, mokuju and chest should all be pressed tightly together. Note from Simon @ JW: ‘For practice purposes try running and striking a wall, if your mokuju slides out of your hand it probably isn’t tight enough’
Shitadou [J]: lower area of the chest and the name of the target for shita strikes. In shiai, used to announce a successful point.
Suriage: defensive harai/deflection going forward, where the attack was coaxed and so is not so much a knee-jerk reaction
Uchikata: person that initiates the technique
Uwadou [J]: upper area of the chest and the name of the target for omote and ura strikes. In shiai, used to announce a successful point.